'Many, many great days ahead' with new Rockford College president
Friday, November 07, 2008
By Cathy Bayer
Posted Nov 07, 2008 @ 10:39 PM
With a few swift jolts of his arm, Rockford College President Robert L. Head rang the bell that belonged to Rockford College’s first president and received a standing ovation from more than 100 people at his inauguration.
Head was inducted as Rockford College’s 17th president today in the school’s Maddox Theatre. He joined Rockford College full time in July.
Mayor Larry Morrissey, college faculty and alumni welcomed Head during the 60-minute ceremony. A few dozen staff and faculty members sat in the audience wearing academic regalia.
Morrissey’s remarks centered on his vision of excellence for Rockford, in which the college plays a major role.
“It’s truly at the heart and center of the community,” Morrissey said. “I truly believe we have many, many great days ahead of us.”
Head’s duty, he said, is to set the tone for the community so that students, faculty and staff can enjoy their life’s work, he said.
He hopes the college will continue to engage intellectual curiosity, demonstrate artistic creativity and search for knowledge with limited interruption under his leadership.
Only a handful of students were in attendance, something that surprised 24-year-old graduate assistant Veronica Mateus.
She attended the event to get to know Head better. She’s only met him a few times, she said.
Before the ceremony, Mateus said she reflected on how Head is the college’s first black president and how Barack Obama was elected Tuesday as America’s next president.
“It’s very cool,” she said. “It’s changing.”
Rockford College is a private, four-year liberal arts school offering undergraduate and graduate degrees from more than 70 majors, minors and concentrations.
It was named “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and was the only school among 81 nationwide to earn the billing “College with a Conscience” by The Princeton Review and Campus Compact.
Head briefly discussed a strategic plan for Rockford College, noting that the singular goal of a four-year institution is to set the standard of excellence in student development and civic engagement.
“The most important thing for us to consider today,” he said, “is where we are headed.”
Staff writer Cathy Bayer can be reached at 815-987-1369 or email@example.com.
Profile: Robert L. Head
Who: 17th president of Rockford College
Education: Bachelor’s degree in management, Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio, 1975; master’s in business administration, University of Toledo, 1980; Institute for Educational Management, Harvard University; master’s in management and organizational behavior, Benedictine University, 1995; doctorate in organization development, Benedictine University, Lisle, 1999
Higher education: 2001-08, president, Urbana University, Urbana, Ohio; 1996-2001, associate professor, Benedictine University; 1992-2001, vice president for administration, Benedictine University.
Professional: 1986-92, vice president, trust services, Northern Trust Co., Chicago, ; 1981-86, vice president, trust services, Toledo Trust Co., Toledo, Ohio; 1978-81, market administrator, Ohio Bell Telephone Co., Toledo; 1975-78, assistant treasurer, Trust Services, Toledo Trust Co., Toledo. He’s on the boards of SwedishAmerican Health System, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and the Golden Apple Foundation. He’s also part of the Higher Education Alliance of the Rock River Region and is a member of Downtown Rotary.
Family: Married for 31 years to wife, Sheryl; three children ranging in age from 19 to 27.